FDA approves Alzheimer’s drug debated by experts

Government officials have approved the first drug they say can likely treat the underlying Alzheimer's disease, rather than manage symptoms like anxiety and insomnias. The Alzheimer's Association praised the approval of the much-debated drug. (June 7)

Video Transcript

MARIA CARRILLO: This is the first FDA drug approval that delays decline due to Alzheimer's disease, which means that individuals may have more time to actively participate in activities and to have sustained independence, hold on to their memories longer, experience their life longer. That includes relationships [? and ?] time with family and friends. That's a game-changer, and it brings new hope for all of our community.

So aducanumab, which is now going to be marketed as Aduhelm, addresses Alzheimer's in a new way compared to any other previously approved FDA drugs for Alzheimer's. This therapy slows the progression of the disease because it addresses the underlying biology, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's, which is amyloid plaques. And so by removing those amyloid plaques, what was found in this study was that you could in fact slow clinical decline over time.

At the end of the day, what matters is that people with Alzheimer's will have access to this today so that they don't have to wait three to five more years for another trial, and by that point, they may not be eligible for it and may no longer be able to access those memories. That's the key.